• Tue. May 16th, 2023

Mystery of missing ship MV Blythe Star solved after 50 years

A ship that disappeared near Tasmania nearly 50 years ago sparking the largest Australian maritime search ever at the time has finally been found.

The 44-metre MV Blythe Star was on its way from Hobart to King Island with 10 crew and a cargo of beer and fertiliser when it suddenly capsized on October 13, 1973.

A huge 7-day search found no trace of the ship or the crew, who were presumed dead.

It would later be revealed the crew members had actually escaped into an inflatable life raft.

Three of them died before the group made it ashore a small beach on the Forestier Peninsula and found help 12 days later.

It is said the first words from the first person they met were: “Nah, you’re all dead.”

While the community and country got answers about what happened to the crew, the ship was never found – until April 12 this year.

Researchers from the CSIRO and the University of Tasmania were on a 38-day voyage on-board RV Investigator to study an underwater landslide.

During the voyage they went to investigate an unidentified shipwreck which had previously been pinpointed by fishing vessels.

The shipwreck turned out to be the missing MV Blythe Star, solving a 50-year-old mystery.

It was found about 10.5 kilometres west of South West Cape, Tasmania and lies in 150 metres of water. The ship is intact and sitting upright on the sea floor.

In a statement on Monday, CSIRO said some parts like the stern were damaged and “most notably” the wheelhouse was no longer present.

The government science agency said it hoped that the mapping and video footage researchers got off the shipwreck may help answer questions about what caused it to sink all those years ago.

The mapping was done using multibeam echosounders and two underwater camera systems got video.

The cameras identified part of the vessel’s name (“STAR”) on the ship’s bow.

Crayfish, schools of fish and fur seals were also filmed swimming around the wreck.

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